Mr. Mom

We cannot serve two masters.

“No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will despise one and be devoted to the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”
-Matthew 6:24


For the last six years one of us has always had a lucrative career; whether it was me working full-time for the South Carolina Army National Guard or TJ working offshore, we always had jobs.  We had steady income for food, clothing, necessary items as well as wants and, of course, paying down debt.  Then God decided to turn our world upside down in order to get us to trust Him more than we ever have before.

Two weeks ago, as we were in our hotel room in Washington, D.C., TJ received a phone call from one of his captains informing him that he was no longer an employee at Noble Drilling.  {Insert emotions of surprise, anger, and fear before shock set in that we were both now unemployed.}

What now?

We were scheduled to do a walk of the Washington Mall the next morning before heading to Ohio for a jam-packed weekend with family and friends.  “At least walking the mall is free,” I thought.  Vivienne could tell something was wrong, as she kept grabbing our faces saying, “I love you.”  After getting her to bed TJ and I began to talk options, pray, and notify close friends and family.  We wondered what could possibly be next?  We felt like we had listened to God for nearly two years now by selling our home, most of our possessions, and moving onto a boat.  Why would He do this to us?

I had my moments of doubt and anger between 2:30am-5:00am when I couldn’t sleep.  The entire time I kept thinking, “Why, God?  Why now?”  Slowly on Thursday morning we started talking to more of our friends and it was one of my closest friends who helped change my thinking.  She reminded me that we had been burned out on this 21-on and 21-off lifestyle but kept hanging on and that maybe this was a blessing in disguise.  Maybe, just maybe, there was something better out there for us.  Another friend echoed that sentiment when she said we had taken such leaps of faith to sell everything and move onto the boat that perhaps God is pushing us for more.   That is when the lightbulb came on... more. God wants more. 

Megan, my first friend, was absolutely right.  TJ and I were tired of his job.  He went to work stressed out about stepping on toes and getting laid off when the downturn in the oil industry meant the slightest infraction could get someone fired.  When he was home he was stressed out about getting laid off, as we would get messages from his co-workers who had been let go.  It was constant stress and worry but he wouldn’t leave his job because the money was too good.  The stress didn’t just impact TJ, it also impacted me, Vivienne, and our family faith life.  It is not a secret that I spent 16 years battling an eating disorder and I have spent the last two years fighting for solid recovery.  Well, the constant stress and worry over TJ’s job–especially the last few months–were taking a toll on me.  I was beginning to relapse.  Not just slip, but full-blown relapse.  In true eating disorder fashion, I was hiding my behaviors “well” because TJ wasn’t home to witness my actions, or rather, inactions.  I felt unstoppable and my faith life was suffering.  Sure, I was going to church and bible study but I wasn’t praying as much and I was starting to worship my own idol–thinness; prioritizing going to the gym over bible study and starving myself to cope with stress.  I was always stronger in recovery when TJ was home because I am happier when he is around, but with the money being so good at his job we made the sacrifice, knowing I would struggle more in the 21 days he was away.  Vivienne also struggled but not with food.  In her three years of life the most time she has spent with her dad has been roughly 24 days at a time.  She would go for long periods without seeing him, as the internet was so cheap and terrible at TJ’s company that it wouldn’t support FaceTime or Skype like other drilling companies.  Finally she was getting to the point where she would talk to him on the phone but it wasn’t the same as seeing him.   One day in school her teacher told me that Vivienne had a meltdown when they were talking about families and showing pictures of everyone’s families.  When they got to Vivienne’s family photo she began crying and saying she missed her daddy.  That should’ve been our sign that it was time to walk away from the oilfield life but, as I said, we couldn’t say no to the money.  We were serving an idol.

TJ and I couldn’t walk away from his job on our own so God walked away for us.

The morning after TJ lost his job I called our marina, which had been looking for a new dockhand for about two weeks.  When I told our dockmaster what happened she told me the job would wait for me to return to South Carolina and she would stop looking for someone to fill the position.  I can’t sing enough praise about Saint John’s Yacht Harbor Marina.  This place found room for us when other marinas in Charleston were turning away liveaboards and telling us our boat was too wide.  When the crazy man across the way attacked my parenting, the marina manager, dockmaster, and other dockhands stood up for me.  When TJ lost his job and we were both unemployed, the marina offered me a job on the spot to help us out with the added, “If there is anything we can do to help y’all, just let us know.”  And the best thing is, I know they meant it.  The pay isn’t nearly what TJ made but it is a job and it gives me experience doing something I can take with me to any marina where we go.  Besides, being employed again is actually fun and gives TJ a chance to spend a LOT of time at home with Vivienne being Mr. Mom.   (He also gets to tackle those boat projects that he never had time to do when he worked offshore.)

Not only did God provide a place of employment for me right away, but our family faith life is also on the rebound.  We pulled together and put Christ back in the center again.  Now that we don’t feel like we have to cram six weeks worth of family time into three weeks we can slow down and spend more time focusing on God–like we should have been doing all along.  At church on Sunday we were given the stuff to make an advent wreath for our home and, because we are now tag-teaming parenting, we have the energy to do it.  Each night we light a candle and do a devotional.  We spend time in The Word as a family; something we have never done before because God got put on the back burner in order to make time for other things when TJ was home.

My point with this incredibly lengthy post is to say that we were worshipping false gods.  As a couple we were worshipping money which led me to worship the eating disorder individually.  Worshiping money is like a rabbit hole, once you go down the hole it is hard to come back until God pulls you back with something drastic.  TJ losing his job is one of the best things that could’ve happened for our family; though it didn’t feel like it in the moment and still doesn’t at times.  Sure, figuring out a new family budget will take time and patience to master but with God back at the center of our marriage and our family I know He will guide us and everything will fall into place.

Te Whakapono,
The McKelveys

PS  Here are some photos from our sunset sail last night and decorating our boat for Christmas

~~All things are possible for those who believe. -Mark 9:23~~

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